Whether you approach Abruzzo from Le Marche in the north or Rome in the west, your arrival will be signalled by the spectacular bulk of the Gran Sasso massif, containing by far the highest of the Apennine peaks as well as a national park (gransassolagapark.it) with hiking trails. If you come by autostrada from Le Marche, you’ll actually travel underneath the mountains, through a 10km tunnel, passing the entrance to a particle-physics research laboratory bored into the very heart of the mountain range. The massif itself consists of two parallel chains, flanking the Campo Imperatore plain that stretches for 27km at over 2000m above sea level.

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